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Analyzing Developers' Challenges in Mobile Application Marketplaces

Research output: Other conference contributionPaper, poster or abstractProfessional


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Emerged mobile application stores, such as Apple App Store and Google Play, have been seen as challenging marketplaces for software entrepreneurs. Competition is tight as several thousand individual software developers and companies are offering their products on the marketplaces. Furthermore, a majority of applications are offered for free and more complex revenue models such different kinds of Freemium revenue models are becoming the dominant model of business. However, for the longevity of a software ecosystem, the well-being of application providers is crucial. \nIn order to analyse the dynamics of emerged application marketplaces, we have utilized web crawling to gather data from the mobile application stores. The data gathering has been repeated periodically to create a time series of applications available at the selected stores. Our hypothesis for this work-in-progress is that we can identify trends and successful applications for a closer study. These can then be further analysed for recognizing viable practices. \nThe key findings of our initial studies have shown that: 1) Mobile ecosystems have a significant number of applications and application developers, while the number is still increasing. In a seven month time period, from December 2011, the number of applications in the Google Play marketplace had grown with over 27 000 applications. It seems that the number of application continues to grow without a sign of saturation. Theory would, however, suggest that every market has a saturation point. 2) For the mentioned large number of applications, only a very few gather a significant portion of the overall number of downloads. Results from the Google Play suggest, that a small number of core applications are downloaded a significant amount of times. This would suggest that the market is highly concentrated. This is clearly shown by the fact that just over 1 % of the applications have reached a download count of 500 000 in the Google Play marketplace 3) Some of the most popular applications, the so called keystone applications, are so important for the health of the ecosystem that the ecosystem owners are willing to sacrifice some of their bargaining power in order to get these applications to their ecosystem. 4) The dynamics of the marketplace is, in addition to the increase of applications, shown by the number of applications leaving the marketplace at a given time. Taking an example from the Windows Marketplace, while in between May 2012 and June 2012 the marketplace had over 7500 new applications and nearly 850 applications had left the marketplace. Finally, 5) Multi-homing, i.e. publishing the same products in multiple ecosystems, is a typical pattern for the most popular and downloaded keystone applications.